Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 29 – 30
On this 8th day of November, we give thanks to God for helping us carry our burdens and for giving us rest.
Haven’t we all been in that place where the cares of this world can come over us like a tidal wave of despair, and all we want is to get away and be alone with God? I have had many of those times, but one particular one comes to mind when God made it very clear that He was with me.
It was about 15 years ago, and I had carried Bob to the emergency room with severe chest pains. (It turned out to be a gall bladder attack, but the cardiologist had seen something on his EKG that he wanted to look into further and he ran more tests.) Finally, we were given the diagnosis that he had cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weakened. We were told that he could die suddenly or would need a heart transplant at some point in the future.
We were devastated by the news and when they took him for another test, I felt I just needed to get some air and be alone for a few minutes. I walked to the hospital parking lot, got in my car, and I remember laying my head in my hands on the steering wheel and feeling the most alone I have ever felt. I began to pray and I remember telling God that I didn’t know how to do this alone – I couldn’t – and I needed His strength to carry me through.
Suddenly, I heard a tapping on my window, and I looked up and saw a woman standing by my car. She asked if I was ok. I rolled down the window, wiped my tears, and told her I was – that we had just received some upsetting news, and I just needed a few moments alone and had been praying.
With emotion in her voice, she told me she had come to do the same. Her husband had just had a heart attack and they had taken him for a heart catheterization. We hugged and stood there talking for a few minutes, and it gave both of us some much needed strength. We had no doubt that God had “arranged” our meeting to remind us that we were not alone – that He was with us, and so were many others who cared about our situations.
I have often thought about her kindness through the years and wondered if their lives have turned out as well as ours. Bob has done well with the heart medication and an implanted defibrillator which has saved his life on two occasions. Even our cardiologist has been more than pleased with how well he has done through the years.
When I think of that time in our lives, I always think of this verse and how Jesus offered His “yoke” to help carry my burden. I love the image it presents as we think of the old wooden yokes that were used to harness two animals, such as oxen, to make it easier to carry a heavy load. I picture Him beside of me and we carrying the “burden” together. But I have discovered by giving my concerns to Him, the weight has not only become lighter, but He has carried almost all of the “load” Himself. He has given me the grace to trust in Him as we have walked this journey together. I have been able to let go of the heaviness and fear, and just rest in the assurance of His love and comfort.
How grateful we can be that God is always there to help us through the painful experiences of life and help carry our burdens. What peace and rest can be ours as we give our cares to Him.
Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we have doubted your goodness and have tried to shoulder our cares and burdens alone. May we always bring our concerns to you, trusting in your love and grace. Amen